The Japanese Naomi Osaka who advanced to the knockout stages of the US Open this Friday by defeating the Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, stated that she has received with surprise expressions of gratitude for her support for the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.
Osaka, 22, wore a mask this Friday with the name Ahmad Arbery, a murdered young African-American.
The tennis player of Haitian descent has been wearing masks with names of victims of police brutality and racism in the US and at the Cincinnatti tournament, also held last week in Flushing Meadows, joined a protest that suspended the competition one day after a shooting against another black citizen, Jacob Blake.
After beating Kostyuk in three sets in the third round, the 2018 Grand Slam champion put on the reinvindictive face cover for her interview on the pitch and stated: "None of these deaths had to happen. I want people to know their names. "
In a subsequent press conference, Osaka assured that he is always surprised when someone thanks him for his awareness work .
"I don't feel like I'm doing anything, but people say thank you and I'm proud of you, and for me that's something that touches my heart," she said.
"When I am in the moment, I am not aware of how many people are watching" he added.
Very happy with what has been achieved
The Japanese was satisfied that banners of 'Blak Lives Matter' have been hung in some courts and places of the Open despite the lack of public and considered that tennis "is an international event" that people from all over the world play, so it is "a very good opportunity to comment on certain issues".
"I think that as soon as a player starts talking about something, that opens the door for others" he commented.
Regarding his match today against the 18-year-old Ukrainian Kostyuk, he acknowledged having suffered and felt "extreme frustration".
"He didn't get dwarfed by me or the speed of my ball which is incredible for someone so young," he said, praising Kostyuk.
"I think it's definitely going to be dangerous" said the champion, who after having faced the American Coco Gauff in the past, now 16 years old, values the younger opponents with more perspective than her.
"After playing Coco twice, I think: she is probably the youngest person of all time. So whoever I play with who is younger than me, I admit that they have worked very hard. hard to be on the other side of the network with me and I must treat them with respect, do my best to win, "he said.